Meet the GCX Team: In Conversation with Bernard Jacobs, GCX Digital Director

We chatted to Bernard, GCX Digital Director, about his work, life and the lessons he learned along the way.

After 14 years in the marine water sector, Bernard joined GCX in 2013 and initially focused on water sustainability at a corporate level. It was this process that highlighted that “most” corporates, with all good intentions, do not have the know-how, ability or understanding of how to go about gathering, managing and reporting responsible data.

During his tenure at GCX, Bernard combined his formal accounting training, his IT skills and worked together with the highly skilled technical team at GCX and its associates to develop the GCX Eco-Analytics dashboard and reporting platform. Connect with Bernard on Linkedin.

What has been your favourite project at GCX so far?

The development of the GCX Analytics Dashboard and Reporting Platform is by far a frontrunner.  Being someone who enjoys working with and organising data, and given my accounting background and passion for IT, the development of the dashboard brought all of my skills into play and challenged me to align it with what clients need to see and report on.

If you could switch your job with anyone else at GCX, whose job would you want and why?

I’m not going anywhere, I’m in my sweet spot within the organisation. I firmly believe that everyone needs to “specialise” in their individual competencies and areas of interests i.e., be experts in their field.

For our clients, it is very comforting knowing that we have competent team members that have all the skills to satisfy their diverse environmental needs. For myself, it is great being able to gain knowledge and know-how from our internal team of experts. Without the team input, I would not have been able to build the dashboard.

How did you first learn about GCX and what first drew you to the company?

I have been besties with Kevin for about 30 years now. For years we dreamed of working together.  Fortunately for both of us, the opportunity arose and I joined the team.

What are your hopes for the sustainability industry, and in particular GCX’s clients?

Having worked with many clients’ environmental data, I have come to discover that almost all organisations have struggled with the collation of their data for compliance and annual reporting purposes. Through our interaction with our clients and their dashboard experience, we have proven that regular data collection and reporting have saved money, improved performance and most importantly provided confidence in their actual performance.

So, for our clients and other organisations, my hope is that all stakeholders within the organisation start to realise that performance managing environmental activities is not something that should be done quarterly or annually but rather treated like MONEY. Truth be told, managing your environmental activities will save you money, reduce your carbon footprint, improve your environmental performance at rating agencies and, most importantly (for most organisations), have I mentioned it will SAVE YOU MONEY?

Before working at GCX, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

For a large part of my working career, I was working in the Maritime sector.  We developed, certified, licensed and started global distribution of a Ballast Water Treatment system to satisfy compliance regulations for all vessels to have a treatment system fitted. 

What would you say is the biggest career lesson you’ve learnt thus far?

My [ad]venture in the maritime sector ended due to the unruly activities of a rogue venture capital fund manager that caused the ultimate demise of the company. The lessons gained through this experience taught me an incredible amount of patience which has caused a lot more harmony within my subsequent business dealings. 

The art of being able to listen is empowering.

What is your favourite quote?

“Laugh at life”.  This is something my dad said to me a couple of months before his sudden departure from this planet.  It was after a fairly open and honest discussion about his chosen life path.  This instantly resonated with me and it is something I have and will continue to quote for the rest of my life.

Where is your favourite holiday destination in South Africa?

Anywhere outdoors, near water, shade – could be camping, glamping or a good old log cabin.  We are so spoilt for choice here in South Africa.

Finally, if you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive), who would it be?

Albert Einstein is the first name that pops into my mind. 

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